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Do I give my farrier another chance?

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  • Do I give my farrier another chance?

    My gelding came in 4/5 lame on the LF last week. This is the same foot that he had an avulsion fracture of the navicular 5.5 years ago. I was very worried and called the vet out immediately. To make a long story short, the vet thinks we are dealing with a minor soft tissue injury in the navicular region and has prescribed corrective shoeing (basically a rocker-type shoe with the breakover point moved back and a rolled toe with a straight bar shoe).

    I have used the same farrier for 10+ years with absolutely no complaints. He does excellent trims and cold shoes only, and is very reasonably priced. My vet even commented on how nice his hoof balance is. Said farrier has great business skills too, is always on time, and usually shows up within 1-2 days of my call.

    After my vet appointment, I called and left a message explaining I needed a special shoeing, and he called me back and we talked about it and it sounded like everything would be fine. I wasn't able to be at the barn when he was there (per usual), so I also left the vet's instructions on the stall door.

    Well, the shoeing job is just all wrong. It's a very good normal trim, but the shoes are completely flat, toes aren't rolled, and he put an egg bar on the LF and a straight bar on the RF. My vet offered to talk to the farrier directly and to send pictures of what horsie needs, but I don't know if I should give him another chance. What if he gets it wrong again, and I still need to call in somebody else. I have a few good referrals to other farriers who are familiar with this type of corrective shoeing. So, do I give him another chance or do I go with a more advanced shoer?

  • #2
    Call him back and talk to him. Ask why the vet's instructions were not followed. Maybe he did not understand what was expected.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is an issue with farriers who do not own or use a forge. Although I rarely use mine, when needed I can build the required modifications onto the shoes.
      Farriers who only cold shoe occasionally find themselves 'up a creek without the paddle' so to speak.
      Now, if you REALLY like this fellow otherwise , ask him to discuss the requested shoeing with your veterinarian directly and in that discussion see if a 'ready made' commercially available therapeutic shoe can be used that will fill the needs.
      There are some great aluminum 'full roller' type shoes on the market that can treat navicular area injuries nicely. The "Grand Circuit T shoe", the "Morrison Roller", and EDSS's "PLR" shoes are all examples of possibilities.
      Perhaps A flat hard plastic plate or hard pad could possibly be used to assist in supporting the back of the foot in place of the straight bar.
      I often tell farriers that with imagination and a variety of materials,the mechanics of any shoeing that can be done hot can also be done cold, using those alternative materials.
      BUT your vet must agree to it. If the farrier and vet can not work it out somehow, then you will just have to get someone who has the forging skills to do what the vet wants and tell the current farrier why you need to change. (maybe he will go to more school and get some forging skills so it doesn't happen to him again).
      Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
      Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
      www.hoofcareonline.com

      Comment


      • #4
        If he has been a good farrier for you for 10+ years, I would give him another chance and I would definitely want to be there when he comes out again. Could have been a misunderstanding of what was supposed to be done.

        Comment


        • #5
          shuld he get another chance! For 10 years hes been on time and available when needed. Read any thread on here with farrier in it. Most people are lucky to get A farrier much less that good a one.

          Ours shows up maybe when he feeels like it, wants paying that day even if no one knew he was coming, doesnt return phone calls for a week, to get hold of him means calling his wife, and has to be told what to do to fix something. But hes the best we can get. Sad huh? Did I mention Im in a barn of 30+ horses all shod by him?
          Last edited by JohnDeere; Apr. 21, 2011, 11:09 AM.
          “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Thanks Patty. The vet did show me a brochure with the type of shoe she is suggesting, so I'm sure she could give a recommendation. Are there any special skills needed in the application of such a commercial shoe?

            Comment


            • #7
              Sadly there comes a time in a business relationship when no matter how well you like the person, their skills are not sufficient to deal with the job at hand.

              If you needed surgery on your hand, would you go to a gynecologist or a specialist in hand surgery? Yes, they are both surgeons, but........!!

              If the well being of your horse requires a particular skill set, and is not being provided and you feel that skill is available in your area. Go for it.

              Been there, done that, and never regretted it!!!!
              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

              Comment


              • #8
                Depends on how you really feel about changing, and what this person is not doing for your horse. Sometimes you have to go with your gut after a while. There are some people who have no business being in the trades they have chosen - can be very nice folks, but not so great in their trade. I stuck with a farrier for a while (he had just finished farrier school, nice kid, thought I would give him a chance). Thought he would be all right just for barefoot trims - un unh. I had a feeling I needed to make a change - the horse's feet were getting worse - he was spending maybe 15 minutes tops on 4 horses. I let him go, and got somebody else - have not regretted it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sister7 in gray

                  My gelding came in 4/5 lame on the LF last week. This is the same foot that he had an avulsion fracture of the navicular 5.5 years ago. I was very worried and called the vet out immediately. To make a long story short, the vet thinks we are dealing with a minor soft tissue injury in the navicular region and has prescribed corrective shoeing (basically a rocker-type shoe with the breakover point moved back and a rolled toe with a straight bar shoe).


                  Lemme see if I have this straight: Vet examines horse at the barn that is sudden onset 4/5 lame and determines "soft tissue" injury and prescribes rocker toe. If I were you, I'd be very interested in the SPECIFIC diagnosis (if any), the criteria on which is was based, and the rationale for the prescription. Did the vet thoroughly test the hoof with hoof testers? Do a series of blocks starting at the DIJ? Flex tests? Digital radiographs? Etc., etc.?

                  I have used the same farrier for 10+ years with absolutely no complaints. He does excellent trims and cold shoes only, and is very reasonably priced. My vet even commented on how nice his hoof balance is. Said farrier has great business skills too, is always on time, and usually shows up within 1-2 days of my call.


                  Lack of a forge hinders your farrier's ability to meet horses' needs, but 10 years counts for something. What's your vet's track record? A shoot-from-the-hip diagnosis/prescription would worry me a helluva lot more than an experienced cold shoer's failure to follow a vet's CYA blanket prescription.

                  After my vet appointment, I called and left a message explaining I needed a special shoeing, and he called me back and we talked about it and it sounded like everything would be fine. I wasn't able to be at the barn when he was there (per usual), so I also left the vet's instructions on the stall door.

                  Veterinary "instructions" tend to lose something in translation. When the vet and farrier aren't in DIRECT communication, things often go south.

                  Well, the shoeing job is just all wrong. It's a very good normal trim, but the shoes are completely flat, toes aren't rolled, and he put an egg bar on the LF and a straight bar on the RF. My vet offered to talk to the farrier directly and to send pictures of what horsie needs, but I don't know if I should give him another chance. What if he gets it wrong again, and I still need to call in somebody else. I have a few good referrals to other farriers who are familiar with this type of corrective shoeing. So, do I give him another chance or do I go with a more advanced shoer?

                  Have you considered the possibility that your vet might the one in need of another chance? A sudden onset 4/5 could be lots of things, with subsolar abscess or fracture close to the top of the list and a "minor soft tissue injury in the navicular region" down towards the bottom. Chances are, you might be in need of a "more advanced" equine practitioner, not a new farrier.
                  Tom Stovall, CJF
                  No me preguntes cualquier preguntas, yo te diré no mentiras.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Why is it that whenever there's a question of vet misdiagnosis vs farrier mistake (for lack of a better word), some among us leap instantly to the farrier's defense? Yes, you, Tom. Unless you were there, which I doubt, how can you be so sure that the vet did make a shoot-from-the-hip diagnosis? Could it be that the vet was right, that the farrier misunderstood, or, like some farriers I know, thought he knew better than the vet? How about offering some productive advice, instead of making assumptions?

                    That being said, OP, if it was me, I'd try to schedule the vet and farrier at the same time, have them both out to look at the horse and discuss what he needs. If that isn't possible, at least a phone call, directly from vet to farrier, so the farrier can better understand what the vet is looking for. And, like Patty mentioned, and your vet showed you, there are plenty of shoe options out there, between the 2 of them, they should be able to come up with something that works.
                    Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch
                    www.DifferentTimesEquestrianVentures.com

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Tom Stovall View Post


                      Lemme see if I have this straight: Vet examines horse at the barn that is sudden onset 4/5 lame and determines "soft tissue" injury and prescribes rocker toe. If I were you, I'd be very interested in the SPECIFIC diagnosis (if any), the criteria on which is was based, and the rationale for the prescription. Did the vet thoroughly test the hoof with hoof testers? Do a series of blocks starting at the DIJ? Flex tests? Digital radiographs? Etc., etc.?
                      I didn't include the details of the vet appointment in my OP because I didn't really feel it was relevant to this discussion. I don't mind at all my farrier questioning the diagnosis or treatment plan. I think that would show interest and understanding of the situation and I know that some farriers have a lot more experience than some vets when it comes to hoof issues. I would be very upset if the farrier thinks he knows better and decides on his own to alter the treatment plan. I don't think that is what my guy did. I really think he didn't understand.

                      Since you asked, the vet's exam was very thorough and lasted 2.5 hours. Symptoms were 4/5 lame, a bit of heat on the back of the pastern and a mild digital pulse. The vet started by checking for a hot nail. None was present. The vet pulled his shoe and checked for debris under the hoof pad or a sole bruise. None present. Vet carved out a tract of dirt which was a possible abscess. No signs of infection at the end of the tract. Horse reacted mildly in inconsistent locations to the hoof testers (sensitive TB with tender soles, so this falls into the camp of possibly normal). She did flexion tests on both fronts. He was much worse under loading than flexion. She did a block and confirmed the lameness was in the hoof. We then took an extensive set of digital x-rays with no abnormalities present.

                      Let me tell you, I really wish we did have a SPECIFIC diagnosis, but we don't. She didn't think it was worthwhile to ultrasound the hoof. Given this horse's history with the avulsion fracture of the navicular, a soft tissue injury in the region is not so unlikely.

                      Thanks to all the input from everyone else. I think I am going to call my farrier and explain that the shoeing job was not what was requested and ask him to talk to my vet directly and see what comes out of that discussion.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I would give the farrier another chance.

                        Call him,discuss the shoeing, and put him in direct contact with the vet. Ask him to call you after to discuss his talk with the vet. Ask if he feels that he will be able to do as the vet reccomends, if not does he have a suggestion for a farrier who can, just for this horse during the special shoeing.

                        Good luck

                        LBR
                        I reject your reality, and substitute my own- Adam Savage

                        R.I.P Ron Smith, you'll be greatly missed

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tom Stovall View Post
                          Sister7 in gray

                          My gelding came in 4/5 lame on the LF last week. This is the same foot that he had an avulsion fracture of the navicular 5.5 years ago. I was very worried and called the vet out immediately. To make a long story short, the vet thinks we are dealing with a minor soft tissue injury in the navicular region and has prescribed corrective shoeing (basically a rocker-type shoe with the breakover point moved back and a rolled toe with a straight bar shoe).


                          Lemme see if I have this straight: Vet examines horse at the barn that is sudden onset 4/5 lame and determines "soft tissue" injury and prescribes rocker toe. If I were you, I'd be very interested in the SPECIFIC diagnosis (if any), the criteria on which is was based, and the rationale for the prescription. Did the vet thoroughly test the hoof with hoof testers? Do a series of blocks starting at the DIJ? Flex tests? Digital radiographs? Etc., etc.?

                          I have used the same farrier for 10+ years with absolutely no complaints. He does excellent trims and cold shoes only, and is very reasonably priced. My vet even commented on how nice his hoof balance is. Said farrier has great business skills too, is always on time, and usually shows up within 1-2 days of my call.


                          Lack of a forge hinders your farrier's ability to meet horses' needs, but 10 years counts for something. What's your vet's track record? A shoot-from-the-hip diagnosis/prescription would worry me a helluva lot more than an experienced cold shoer's failure to follow a vet's CYA blanket prescription.

                          After my vet appointment, I called and left a message explaining I needed a special shoeing, and he called me back and we talked about it and it sounded like everything would be fine. I wasn't able to be at the barn when he was there (per usual), so I also left the vet's instructions on the stall door.

                          Veterinary "instructions" tend to lose something in translation. When the vet and farrier aren't in DIRECT communication, things often go south.

                          Well, the shoeing job is just all wrong. It's a very good normal trim, but the shoes are completely flat, toes aren't rolled, and he put an egg bar on the LF and a straight bar on the RF. My vet offered to talk to the farrier directly and to send pictures of what horsie needs, but I don't know if I should give him another chance. What if he gets it wrong again, and I still need to call in somebody else. I have a few good referrals to other farriers who are familiar with this type of corrective shoeing. So, do I give him another chance or do I go with a more advanced shoer?

                          Have you considered the possibility that your vet might the one in need of another chance? A sudden onset 4/5 could be lots of things, with subsolar abscess or fracture close to the top of the list and a "minor soft tissue injury in the navicular region" down towards the bottom. Chances are, you might be in need of a "more advanced" equine practitioner, not a new farrier.
                          Totally agree with Tom on this one. I don't pay much attention to vet shoeing prescrips unless the farrier is there to have a say in it as well. I have a top notch farrier and I'll take his advice over any veterinarian's when it comes to my horses' feet.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Timex View Post
                            Why is it that whenever there's a question of vet misdiagnosis vs farrier mistake (for lack of a better word), some among us leap instantly to the farrier's defense? Yes, you, Tom. Unless you were there, which I doubt, how can you be so sure that the vet did make a shoot-from-the-hip diagnosis? Could it be that the vet was right, that the farrier misunderstood, or, like some farriers I know, thought he knew better than the vet? How about offering some productive advice, instead of making assumptions?

                            That being said, OP, if it was me, I'd try to schedule the vet and farrier at the same time, have them both out to look at the horse and discuss what he needs. If that isn't possible, at least a phone call, directly from vet to farrier, so the farrier can better understand what the vet is looking for. And, like Patty mentioned, and your vet showed you, there are plenty of shoe options out there, between the 2 of them, they should be able to come up with something that works.
                            I will too....probably because of my own personal track record with veterinarians and farriers. My farrier is the one I go to for feet issues. He will definitely consult with the vet when needed and will use xrays when needed...but HE is my hoof expert, I listen to him.

                            I get tired of all the "Should I fire my farrier" threads...goodness, do you really need a group of internet strangers to tell you whether or not you need to fire someone????

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sister7 View Post
                              I didn't include the details of the vet appointment in my OP because I didn't really feel it was relevant to this discussion. I don't mind at all my farrier questioning the diagnosis or treatment plan. I think that would show interest and understanding of the situation and I know that some farriers have a lot more experience than some vets when it comes to hoof issues. I would be very upset if the farrier thinks he knows better and decides on his own to alter the treatment plan. I don't think that is what my guy did. I really think he didn't understand.

                              Since you asked, the vet's exam was very thorough and lasted 2.5 hours. Symptoms were 4/5 lame, a bit of heat on the back of the pastern and a mild digital pulse. The vet started by checking for a hot nail. None was present. The vet pulled his shoe and checked for debris under the hoof pad or a sole bruise. None present. Vet carved out a tract of dirt which was a possible abscess. No signs of infection at the end of the tract. Horse reacted mildly in inconsistent locations to the hoof testers (sensitive TB with tender soles, so this falls into the camp of possibly normal). She did flexion tests on both fronts. He was much worse under loading than flexion. She did a block and confirmed the lameness was in the hoof. We then took an extensive set of digital x-rays with no abnormalities present.

                              Let me tell you, I really wish we did have a SPECIFIC diagnosis, but we don't. She didn't think it was worthwhile to ultrasound the hoof. Given this horse's history with the avulsion fracture of the navicular, a soft tissue injury in the region is not so unlikely.

                              Thanks to all the input from everyone else. I think I am going to call my farrier and explain that the shoeing job was not what was requested and ask him to talk to my vet directly and see what comes out of that discussion.
                              Maybe this will give you hope (have no idea if this is what is wrong)...I had the same exam about 3 years ago. 850.00 vet bill, with an I DUNNO diagnosis, suggested taking horse to vet school for MRI, shot digital xrays for shoeing prescription...which the farrier couldn't use because horse wasn't weight bearing. Vet assumed it was soft tissue...

                              2 days later when farrier arrived, he cut the abcess out of the foot...mystery solved.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Give him another chance - it sounds to me like miscommunication between the 3 people involved.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Funny, I was just talking to my farrier about this very thing. Some farriers have no business doing corrective shoeing. Period. If you trust your vet, ask for a referral to a farrier experienced in corrective shoeing.

                                  Just because a farrier can shoe or trim a horse with no problems does not mean they have a clue when it comes to navicular, founder, laminitis, etc.

                                  I gave my ex farrier a 2nd chance. $$$$$$ later, I don't give second chances anymore.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Timex in gray

                                    Why is it that whenever there's a question of vet misdiagnosis vs farrier mistake (for lack of a better word), some among us leap instantly to the farrier's defense?

                                    Equal opportunity? Two sides to every story? Experience with similar scenarios? Take your pick.

                                    Yes, you, Tom. Unless you were there, which I doubt, how can you be so sure that the vet did make a shoot-from-the-hip diagnosis?

                                    In her original missive, the OP reported a 4/5 lameness. She did not mention sequential nerve blocks, flex tests, digital rads, etc., ALL of which are procedures commonly used by equine practitioners in order to diagnose the specific cause of palmar hoof pain. She did say the vet suspects a "minor soft tissue injury," but, IME, horses with "minor" soft tissue injuries are seldom obviously lame at a walk (i.e., grade 4 on the AAEP scale).

                                    Could it be that the vet was right, that the farrier misunderstood, or, like some farriers I know, thought he knew better than the vet? How about offering some productive advice, instead of making assumptions?

                                    Anything's possible, but a vet's CYA diagnosis and prescription for mechanical treatment of a 4 wouldn't engender a helluva lot of confidence in me if I were the attending farrier; in fact, I wouldn't have touched the horse without speaking directly to the vet. Depending on exactly which structures are involved, the mechanical treatment/palliation of palmar hoof pain is NOT a one-size-fits-all kinda deal.

                                    That being said, OP, if it was me, I'd try to schedule the vet and farrier at the same time, have them both out to look at the horse and discuss what he needs. If that isn't possible, at least a phone call, directly from vet to farrier, so the farrier can better understand what the vet is looking for.

                                    Funny, I could've sworn that I pointed out that whenever the vet and farrier are not in DIRECT communication, things can go south in a hurry. Perhaps you missed that part. To further expound on that point, I, and many other farriers with substantial veterinary custom, would never consider carrying out a prescription for the mechanical treatment/palliation of a pathology without speaking directly to the veterinarian who made the diagnosis.

                                    And, like Patty mentioned, and your vet showed you, there are plenty of shoe options out there, between the 2 of them, they should be able to come up with something that works.

                                    Absent a correct diagnosis, any form of therapeutic trimming/shoeing amounts to nothing more than guesswork and wishful thinking. If it were my horse, he'd be in the trailer and on the way to the state vet school for a lameness workup before Bob gets the news because a sudden onset 4 can be as serious as a train wreck.

                                    As always, it depends and YMMV.
                                    Tom Stovall, CJF
                                    No me preguntes cualquier preguntas, yo te diré no mentiras.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Tom, I agree, 4/5 lameness is huge. Horse needs a thorough lameness exam by a qualified lameness expert.

                                      Comment

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